Chic Interview: Chudney Ross
Why did you decide to work for yourself?
It took me some time to figure out what I wanted to do with my life and which career path I wanted to follow. I have tried many different paths from teaching elementary school to teaching skiing, modeling to working in TV production, but one thing I was always sure of was that I wanted do something big, something special, something to leave a positive mark on the world.
How did you come up with the idea for Books and Cookies?
My friend from College, Mary Giuliani and I came up with the idea for Books and Cookies together. She owns a boutique catering company in NYC and we wanted to come up with an idea for a business that we could work on together, so we could be bi-coastal and see each other more often. The idea was to mix her love and knowledge of food with my love and passion for children's literacy and Books and Cookies was born. From there it continued to grow into a full children's bookstore, Kids café, enrichment center and events space. Mary decided that her thriving business in NYC required her to lessen her involvement, but she is still an integral part of the success of the business.
Now that you have a successful business, what do you wish you would've known before you got started?
I have learned so much from this process and I continue to learn more and more each day about what it takes to make a successful business. The biggest lesson I learned was to ask for help and be open to suggestions. I knew nothing about starting a business or even working in retail, but by asking a lot of questions, opening myself to learning from people who know more than me on the subject and being open to suggestion, I have been able to take in important lessons to build Books and Cookies into a successful brand. I wish I had known how life changing and all consuming starting a business is, but I wouldn't change it for the world. This is an exciting journey I am on and I am excited for the ride.
What do you find most rewarding about being your own boss?
What I find most rewarding is seeing all the kids and families enjoying the books, the food and the whole experience of Books and Cookies. I worked so hard, put in sweat and tears to make this place a reality and to have families love it, kids want to come back week after week, the laughs, the smiles... this makes it all worth while.
What advice can you give to our readers to help them on their entrepreneurial paths?
My biggest advice would be to dream big and believe in yourself... That anything is possible with research, passion and hard work.
What personal quality do you believe is essential in striving and succeeding as an entrepreneur?
To succeed in business, I believe you have to be willing to put in the hard work and long hours, be extremely organized and be a multi-tasker. I think the fact that I researched and learned every aspect of what goes into creating a business and have been willing to put everything else on hold and focus solely on building Books and Cookies gives the business a better chance at success.
When business gets tough, what's your personal mantra to keep going strong?
Things in business often get overwhelming and tough, but I try to SMILE and remember to BREATHE and I also know that I will SURVIVE.
Repost from 2011 www.chic-ceo.com